Clinical Care Resources - Cancer

Cancer is a disease that mostly affects Canadians aged 50 and older. Cancers are named after the part of the body where they start. For example, cancer that starts in the bladder but spreads to the lung is called bladder cancer with lung metastases. Cancer is the leading cause of death in Canada and is responsible for about 30% of all deaths.

Why is it important?

  • An estimated 187,600 new cases of cancer and 75,500 deaths from cancer will occur in Canada in 2013.
  • The number of estimated new cases does not include 81,700 new non-melanoma skin cancer cases.
  • 96,200 Canadian men will be diagnosed with cancer and 39,400 men will die from cancer.
  • 91,400 Canadian women will be diagnosed with cancer and 36,100 women will die from cancer.
  • On average, over 500 Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer every day.
  • On average, over 200 Canadians will die from cancer every day.
  • Lung, breast, colorectal and prostate cancer are the most common types of cancer in Canada (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer). Based on 2013 estimates: these cancers account for over half (52%) of all new cancer cases.
  • Prostate cancer accounts for about one-quarter (26%) of all new cancer cases in men.
  • Lung cancer accounts for 14% of all new cases of cancer.
  • Breast cancer accounts for about one-quarter (26%) of all new cancer cases in women.
  • Colorectal cancer accounts for 13% of all new cancer cases.
  • Across Canada, cancer incidence rates vary because of differences in the type of population, risk  factors (including risk behaviours) and early detection practices.  Similarly, rates of cancer death vary because cancer screening rates and the availability and use of treatment vary across the country.
  • Survival rates vary from low to high depending on the type of cancer and other factors.  For example, based on 2006–2008 estimates: The 5-year relative survival rate for
    •   lung cancer is low (17%).
    •   colorectal cancer is average (65%)
    •   prostate cancer (96%)
    •   breast cancer (88%)


  1. Canadian Cancer Society.  Retrieved March 2014 from: